"Her poems yield a humanly political veracity which does not accede to cynicism, but seem to have witnessed with a clear gaze what had befallen her country, its people....She writes from a religious soul and the sustaining elements of her poems arise from ritual and humility, from tenacious, mindful suffering, and deeply held religious practices ...
"Her poems yield a humanly political veracity which does not accede to cynicism, but seem to have witnessed with a clear gaze what had befallen her country, its people....She writes from a religious soul and the sustaining elements of her poems arise from ritual and humility, from tenacious, mindful suffering, and deeply held religious practices and belief. Her voice is impetuous and full of a rushing audacity that can stab the consciousness by suddenly becoming stark and acute". -- Tess Gallagher
96 pp. Fine in glossy illustrated wrappers; a trade paperback original. Review slip taped to half-title page, US distribution sticker on title page. Translations by the author with Adam J. Sorkin and Tess Gallagher.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-05-27 In the summer of 1992 a recently widowed Tess Gallagher sat with Liliana Ursu beneath an apple tree in a village near Bucharest when, in a preternatural moment, a secret word from Ursu's childhood sprang from Gallagher's lips. That fall, on a jet from Romania to New York , Gallagher sat next to Adam Sorkin, who has translated the work of over 50 Romanian poets, and they read through the spare, despairing yet inspiring manuscript that only now, half a decade later, reaches the bookshelf in a polished, vigorous form. Ursu's translated voice is one of a deep sadness that refuses to turn cynical, displaying a modest bravery in the face of political and personal strife and demonstrating a resplendent feminism. Mostly, however, she articulates a hunger laid out in elemental imagery, evoking a spirit that craves, though not often finds, redress: "In the city of what once was, I repaired clocks,/ and high in the tower I set the heavy iron hand/ to the fragile hours. / You would pick wild strawberries from the lip of the abyss./ A word, and we came crashing down." Knife blades cut into both the expansive sky and a caught fish in a world so large and so small as to hold Bucharest and Pennsylvania (Ursu taught at Penn State in 1992) on a single page. The attentions of Ursu, Gallagher and Sorkin seem to add an additional dimension of complexity and illumination to these poems. (June)
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